Bouncebackability: (especially in sport) the capacity to recover quickly from a setback.

Believe it or not, this gem of a word actually made it into the Oxford English dictionary ten or so years ago, after an interview with football manager, Ian Holloway, reached cult status.

It made such good sense in relation to football, but it has a real pertinence in the world of business too.

How well you’re able to bounce back from set backs, whether they’re sudden or gradual, is a huge determining factor in how successful your business will be.

It’s not getting knocked down that matters, it’s how you get back up. It’s a theme or a message that you’ll have heard in many guises and applied to a whole host of different contexts, but the word ‘bouncebackability’ just sums it all up nicely. It makes sense.

Without it, you’re a sitting duck, awaiting the inevitable silver bullet to take you out of the game for good.

With it, you’re able to roll with the punches, and ultimately, come back stronger.

OK, enough with the clichés, what does it actually mean?

Well, it can be broken down into a few ‘easy to digest’ strands, or at least we think it can.

Learning. Planning. Reflection.

And not necessarily in that order.

Let’s look at learning. Why is the willingness and ability to learn so important in business, especially when we’re talking about learning from mistakes?

Because every single mistake is an opportunity to learn, and if you don’t seize that opportunity, you’ve missed a trick. If you lose a contract because you didn’t follow up a renewal in time, or because you took old custom for granted, are you going to write it off as a bad job, or are you going to learn from it and make damn sure that it doesn’t happen again?

That’s having bouncebackability.

What about planning then? We talk about it a lot at 20:80e, and we make no apologies for doing so, because of how important it is.

Planning is never bulletproof though.

But that’s exactly why good plans have contingencies, ‘what if’ scenarios and Plan Bs, Plan Cs etc to back it all up.

You might find yourself making a mistake, but having a clear plan, with its strategies, visions and measurable targets, helps you steer things back in the right direction as quickly as possible, guided by the overarching and all encompassing plan. One of our favourite four letter words.

A good plan gives you bouncebackability.

And on to reflection, one of the most overlooked and neglected aspects of working in business.

Reflection can cost you time and money, if you think of it cynically, but if you’re thinking of it in this way, you need to reflect on that. That’s a lot of reflection!

Reflection is different to learning with regards to bouncebackability, as there is a level of acceptance that must come with it. Learning can be defiant, and fuelled by a will to ‘do better’ or ‘earn more’, whereas reflection is all about acknowledging what has happened, good or bad, and giving yourself (and your business) the space and time to be able to grow from the bad patch, the mistake, or the incident.

Different businessmen and women have different methods of reflection, but when it’s done properly, reflection can be one of the most powerful tools in helping businesses, and human beings for that matter, ‘bounce back’.

Sit down with the team and discuss what went well, and what could’ve been better. It doesn’t have to be an appraisal; it doesn’t have to be a disciplinary. Those can still happen, by the way, but pouring bucket after bucket of water onto a flower will only kill it, whereas if you stand back, look at it for a while, and assess what the flower really needs, you’ll be in a much better position to help it grow.

And guess what, bouncebackability is all about just that, growing.

We don’t want to bounce back to just get back to where we were, or nearly where we were.

We want to use the set backs to improve, and that’s why learning, planning and reflection are all so important.

Think about a set back you’ve had in business, or in your personal life, and ask yourself if you were able to bounce back as well as you might have liked.

It doesn’t have to be instant, not every recovery is an overnight success.

The markets always recover, it has been said, but they don’t always recover quickly.

So, what is it you’re thinking of? A collapsed deal? A bad debt? A broken down relationship?

At the time, any one of those things, or others similar to them, can be devastating, but how did you bounce back?

Maybe you learned how to close a deal by seeking the guidance of a coach? Maybe you planed with a financial advisor for all of those ‘just in case’ scenarios in the future, and had money in the bank to deal with the next one. Maybe you reflected on a relationship and discovered the things that make you happy.

We snuck them in there then, but maybe you noticed…

Learned. Planned. Reflected. Bounced back.

That’s what it’s all about, bouncebackability, and even though we’ve pinched it from a football television programme, when it comes to its application within life and/ or business, we really couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Want to bounce back?

You absolutely can do, as long as you learn, as long as you plan, as long as you reflect.